In their recent report “IDC MarketScape: North America Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service Provider 2015 Vendor Assessment“, the analyst firm placed Axcient as one of the leading vendors for DRaaS. This report is big in a few different ways, for Axcient and for the market of data protection and recovery in general.

IDC MarketScape DRaaS

First, it is great to have one more analyst affirming Axcient’s position in the market (Gartner named Axcient a Visionary in their Magic Quadrant for DRaaS and Forrester named Axcient a leader in their Forrester Wave DRaaS report) recognizing the strength of our platform and our vision. For those who have been through the process of participating in analyst reports you know is not a walk in the park. There are tons of questionnaires to fill out, live product demos to guide analysts through, and several customers that are interviewed at great lengths to get their perspective on the solution and also on other vendors in the market.

The IDC report also talks about some of the transformations happening in the market today. See this excerpt from the document:

The evolution of today’s leading DRaaS offerings centralizes around two primary technology supplier origins: traditional managed storage and colocation service models that have been available for many years from telecommunications service providers and datacenter providers. Cloud-centric technology organizations have also evolved solutions from either backup and recovery (B/R) software or cloud-related compute and storage services offerings. In a market that is evolving quickly, the core technology aspects behind cloud-based disaster recovery have converged around a common functionality objective that is differentiated based on flexibility and usability of the technology, implementation and pricing models, customer experience focus, and future road maps of the 11 providers that this study has contrasted.

The point that they are making is an important one. There are many vendors in this space. Some have morphed into DRaaS vendors but have origins in traditional backup technologies, others have entered the space as service providers, while a few are “born in the cloud” type vendors that have developed their own technologies.

Analyst firms tend to lump together multiple vendors that actually perform very different functions: Services for Disaster Recovery and Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service.

Companies offering “Services for Disaster Recovery” tend to be your typical hosting providers or telecommunication carriers which have a variety of service offerings and also have DR in their portfolio. They tend to leverage third-party technologies to accommodate specific client needs instead of focusing on one core technology stack. For example, some of the hosting providers in both IDC and Gartner reports use a combination of software products from Zerto, VMware, Veeam, and other vendors to provider clients with DR services. This means the DR provider is just cobbling together various solutions to address DR needs of their clients, among other services.

Those offering Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service, or pure-play DRaaS providers, differ in the fact they have created their own technology solutions and have DR as their core business function. Very few of these companies are actually participants in these analyst reports just because there are not very many of those.

Having this distinction clear is important to really understand the market. Now let’s discuss the report.

IDC MarketScape Report
Based on their analysis of the market, IDC highlighted a few things in their report three of which are worth mentioning here:
– Leaders in this market are those that put the user interface (UI) and customer service as core priorities for a successful service offering.
– Results showed that many of the smaller companies are more nimble, faster, and have better customer responsiveness than the larger players.
– Enterprises using smaller vendors for DRaaS had similar or better customer experiences than those using a larger established provider

The first item talks about a change in how leading vendors are approaching DR in general. There’s definitely a trend of simplifying operations, automation of tasks, and focus on the user experience. While some vendors try to cram a lot of functionality into a product to give IT directors the control they want of their data, vendors leading the group are actually taking a different approach and delivering products that are easier to use and give companies the same level of protection as their peers in the market. Is a shift from an old mindset that wanted control over backup windows and amount of data being protected to now offering faster recovery times and improving IT resiliency.

The second and third items are interesting because they point to how this market is being disrupted. While some well established vendors are always on a top 5 list of vendors during evaluation process for DR, newer and smaller companies are now making the cut and in some cases winning over the larger competitors. A few things IDC highlights include better customer responsiveness and better customer experience. We see this all the time in our interaction with our own customer base, in which they constantly comment on how the “big guys” they have to deal with for hardware and software support have long wait times, sub-par tech support, etc. while Axcient is a completely different experience – no voice-mail trees, rapid response to open tickets, having the customer’s interest at heart. Smaller organizations will sometimes have a better culture of putting the customer first, which shows in the IDC analysis.

As for IDC assessment of Axcient’s services and capabilities, we were very glad to see that our “strengths” are listed as:

– Excellent user interface
– Robust consulting services for high-touch engagements
– Strong DR testing capabilities
– All-inclusive pricing model
– In-house intellectual property and patents for DR, UI, and related services

And our “Challenges” were:

-Managing growth/debt expectations mapped to current venture capital investment
-Managing customer service experience in the face of growth objectives
-Heavy reliance on partners for customer reach and touch points

The above are all valid, fair points. Having raised as much capital as we have over the past few years we have an obligation to our investors of giving them a fair return for their money and in the current environment growth is key. Axcient has in fact recently gone through a major internal transformation of our sales, marketing, ans support departments to better handle our growth targets so that our service is not impacted in any way.

Our partner base is seen as IDC as a challenge, but we view it as our strongest asset. Through hundreds of MSPs and service providers Axcient is able to provide enterprise-class solutions at SMB prices. These service providers cater to smaller organizations who need a hands-on approach to their data protection and recovery strategies and our partners are the best at doing it. At the same time, our partners are an important element of our feedback loop, bringing ideas, concerns, and insights from the field and from companies of different sizes across multiple industries. We take all of this data and use it to inform our product and service teams and also to guide the product roadmap so we can quickly adapt to changing situations in the field.

We are glad to have been included in the IDC report and participated through their analysis of the DRaaS market and look forward to being included again next year. In the meantime, please download your complimentary copy of the report here: